Sunday, April 6, 2008

Letter Two: N'gata Farm Njoro 16/5/26

The reason for the delay in getting this post on the net is that I have been trying to research, read and understand more about the Africa my Grandfather was experiencing. I had not realised that the time he was there coincided with the infamous era of the "Happy Valley" crowd.

My next post will be some back ground information about both the dissolute Happy Valley settlers and Lord Egerton himself who was one of the few to make a success of farming in Africa. In 1939, Lord Egerton donated 400 hectares of land for a school to provide training for Europeans and Africans in agriculture and an additional 1, 215 hectares along with his strange Castle home on his death in 1958. There is now at Njoro the important and succesful Egerton University which grew from educational foundations that Lord Egerton laid and he is kindly thought of. It is said of him that he “did more for Kenya than any other white person”.
I find myself glad that my grandfather was working for him rather than one of the less palatable friends of Lord Delamere.

Letter Two
We skip forward to after Easter in 1926 and I have included page one of this actual letter as it was written on lovley old Fowler letterheaded paper complete with an impressive 23 branches listed, including Alexandria, Honolulu and Havana.
Allan is now at Lord Egerton's Estate up in Njoro.
Naughty Patrick, the dog, is again referred to and the nature notes are touching.

N´Gata Farm
Kenya Colony

My Dearest Daughter Joyce,

Thank you so much for your long and clever letter you sent with Mummys. I am glad you had such a happy Easter and got lots of eggs.
We must go to Middleton Pond when I come home and see if we cannot catch some of those tiddlers for tea and if we don’t I shall have to buy a big crab on the way home to make up for our loss.
Patrick was naughty to fight Paddy James but perhaps he had to do it in self defence; sometimes the most gentle and peaceful of us have to fight because we are attacked by cruel enemies. Anyhow if Patrick has a fresh hole bitten in his ear he will be able to hear a lot better now and he will look more handsome with the lump on his head bitten off.

I hope you and Mummy will go away for some holiday soon because it will not be long before I am coming sailing back to you and leaving the little black children for other lands where people have olive coloured skins, the Italians and the Spaniards and then at last come to old England where folks skins are white;(at least they are when they wash them properly).

We saw such a large herd of Gazelle, a kind of Deer close to us this week and we often see Ostriches and sometimes Snakes but only little ones. One day I found two tiny little Hares that had been abandoned by their mother; such dear fluffy little things. I brought then home in my pocket and fed them with milk from a spoon and they drank it greedily, they lived for three days and then I am sorry to say they died, they were too young to be left without their Mother.
I hope you are getting on nicely at school, some day perhaps when you are a big girl you may go on a long voyage on the sea. I hope so for it is grand and I am sure you will like it.

Much Love and Many Kisses from Father

On the back of this photo is written;
"My Dog- Mutt and Kipsoi my Cook outside my Hut. "

This I am sure is Kipsoi's mother as we have another photograph of this lady labelled " My cooks mother"